Tonight, Keith Papini will speak to ABC News’ 20/20 about the disappearance of his wife, Sherri Papini, who went missing in early November and was found 22 days later.
Sherri vanished on the morning of November 2 while on a jog in her hometown of Redding, California. Three weeks later, she was found beaten and chained on the side of the road, about 150 miles from where authorities believe she was taken. Tonight, Keith Papini will discuss his wife’s alleged abduction in his first on-air interview since Sherri was discovered on Thanksgiving Day.
Read on to learn more about Keith Papini.
1. He Works as a Home Theater Specialist at Best Buy
According to Redding’s local news outlet, The Record Searchlight, Keith works as a home theater specialist at Best Buy. His LinkedIn reveals that he has worked as an Elite Services Specialist at the store since October 2005, and graduated from Shasta College with an Associates Degree in Administration of Justice.
Thanks to a GPS in his work vehicle, Keith’s whereabouts were verified the day his wife went missing. Despite these findings, there has been speculation that Keith was personally involved in the disappearance of his wife. Less than a week after Sherri was reported missing, The Record Searchlight reported that a relative of the Papini’s– Rod Rodriguez III, who says he is Sherri and Keith’s father-in-law– went to Facebook to defend against allegations that Keith had a hand in his wife’s disappearance. The outlet reports that Rodriguez’s Facebook post read, “Unfortunately, there are random, ignorant people on the internet that are casting aspersions on both Sherri and Keith… These center around two competing theories: 1. That Sherri walked out of the relationship with her husband and children intentionally and vanished or 2. That her husband Keith is responsible for her disappearance.” In his post, Rodriguez revealed that Keith was cooperative with the police, and voluntarily handed over his cell phone and other computers to the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office to aid in the investigation. The post has since been removed.
2. The Shasta County Sheriff’s Office Says Keith’s Statement May Have Compromised the Integrity of The Investigation
KRCR News reports that Shasta County Sheriff, Tom Bosenko, was “blindsided” by the statement Keith Papini released to the media during a news conference on Wednesday after being reunited with his wife. Bosenko said the statement included key details, like the fact that Sherry was branded, that may have compromised the integrity of the case. Bertain told KRCR:
There’s some unique information in there that was in his press release today that we were hoping to keep a tight rein on as far as what we were going to release to the public. It’s not the first hurdle in this investigation that we’ve had, we’ve overcome many of them, not just in this case, but there’s surprises in all investigations, so this is just..wasn’t good timing.
3. He Says He Was Shocked by His Wife’s Appearance
When Keith Papini was reunited with his wife at the hospital, he says her face was covered in yellow and black bruises, and that her hair had been chopped off.
In his statement, Keith said, “Nothing could have prepared me for what I was about to see upon my arrival at the hospital, nor the details of the true hell I was about to hear.” He says that Sherri’s captors cut something to free her from the vehicle, and as soon as she was released, she walked to I-5 near Road 17 and flagged down a motorist. Sherri has described her alleged abductors as two Hispanic women– one with “long curly hair, thin eyebrows, and pierced ears, and the other woman, who was older, had straight black hair with gray and thick eyebrows”, reports People.
4. Keith Papini and Sheriff Bosenko Say Sherri Was Branded
In his interview with ABC News, Papini says that after being released, “[Sherri] screamed so much, she’s coughing up blood from the screaming, trying to get somebody to stop [on the road]… And again just another sign of how my wife is, she’s so wonderful. She’s saying, ‘Well maybe people aren’t stopping because I have a chain that looks like I broke out of prison’ so she tried to tuck in her chain under her clothes.”
Both Keith and Bosenko have also revealed that Sherri was branded by her reported abductors. Speaking with ABC News’ Good Morning America, Bosenko said he believes the branding may have been done to make Sherri feel powerless. But Rebecca Bender, a national expert on human trafficking and former victim, believes Sherri was a victim of human trafficking. Bender has been branded twice by her traffickers, and tells Today, “I thought trafficked.. as soon as I heard branding– that’s the number one thing we look for in trafficking victims is a brand.”
5. News Outlets Have Reported That Keith Papini Hired a Private Investigator
According to Fox40, Keith hired a private investigator named Cody Salfen to work with law enforcement and investigate his wife’s disappearance. Salfen told Fox40 that Sherri’s case is unique for a number of reasons– one of those being that she survived. “The fact that she was recovered alive such a long period of time after her initial disappearance, that really defies my experience with abduction cases.” Salfen added on that it’s also rare for two abductors to be female. “When you have a criminal duo, essentially, or a pair of people, traditionally that would involve a male or a female. In most criminal duo relationships or situations you’ll have the male dominant role and the more subservient female role.”
Private Investigator Bill Garcia also worked with Papini’s family on the case. Garcia specializes in sex trafficking, and says that the Spanish-speaking captors who Sherri says abducted her and their M.O. are “signatures” of Mexican cartels. “The chains, as opposed to zip ties or handcuffs, the brutal beatin and the hair… these are all earmarks of something that I have seen happen south of the border.”
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